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The Basics: What Is Diyaquaponics?

The term aquaponics will sound familiar to some folks, especially since it sounds like hydroponics. Simply put, aquaponics makes use of hydroponics and combines it with another familiar system; aquaculture. It is a combination of the two and that is a system for raising fish and plants at the same time.

Both hydroponics and aquaculture have their pros and cons. However, the big downside of hydroponics is that you need a steady supply of nutrient solutions to feed your plants. That alone represents a huge expense.

Aquaculture also has its signature downside as it produces a lot of waste. That means people who are maintaining these systems will have to find creative methods of waste disposal. You cant just dump waste water in the river.

All of the Benefits minus the Weaknesses

DIY Aquaponics is a system that takes the benefits of both aquaculture and hydroponics and recirculates the waste of one system to the other. It recycles the waste produced by the aquaculture side of the system and sends it to the hydroponics side of the system as nutrients. The waste water is rich in nutrient and acts as fertilizer that feeds the plants.

The plants will then absorb the nutrients from the water, which then produces clean water that is then fed back to the aquaculture system. DIY aquaponics is actually a pretty good way to reduce waste output and cut down costs. You can say that this system turns the downsides of each individual system and make them beneficial.

The Growbed

As stated earlier, there are two sides of a complete system. One side is where you grow your plants (i.e. your hydroponics side). Here you will place a grow bed where plants thrive. When the nutrient rich water is fed into the media where your veggies are planted, the bacteria there will convert the ammonia into nitrates (i.e. the nitrogen cycle).

The plants then make use of the nitrates for photosynthesis and production of food. What remains is clean water which is then sent back to the fish tank. The only input you will need to make is the fish food. You will not need to add any fertilizer to grow produce, in fact you cant.

Note that youre not going to use soil for the grow bed side of an aquaponics system. The recommended growing media is usually gravel, which will allow the water to drain quickly. Other than gravel, expanded clay tablets are also used as growing media. Both gravel and clay tablets serve as excellent growing media.

The Fish Tank

You can use any fish tank for this system. It should be big enough for the fish population living in it. Obviously, you can only raise freshwater fish in this system. The best types of fish to grow in aquaponics systems include tilapia, trout, carp, catfish, koi fish, and gold fish.

A diy aquaponics system however, allows you the flexibility to design the system according to your budget and the available space that you have.

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